840.00R/2–750: Telegram

The United States Special Representative in Europe ( Harriman ) to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


Repto 119. Reference: Repto 6691 to Dept rptd Hague Repto 68, Brussels Repto 51, Rome Repto 117, Paris Repto 49. Following for your information is text of telegram we have just sent to FINEBEL 2 countries:

“Sent Brussels Repto 54, The Hague Repto 71, Rome Repto 123, Paris Repto 51, rptd Secstate Repto 687, Luxembourg Repto 4 dated Feb 6.

Reference Repto 669 to Dept, repeated Hague Repto 68, Brussels Repto 51, Rome Repto 117, Paris Repto 49.

Supplementing reftel, we have replied to French inquiry regarding our position concerning FINEBEL and incorporated that position in oral statement being delivered to Alphand3 today. Text follows:

‘It is understood that the participating countries will press forward to reach agreement at the earliest possible moment upon an all-inclusive European payments union which will give effect to both the spirit and the letter of the OEEC decision of November [Page 626] 2, 1949.4 At the same time, ECA would welcome a decision by the countries concerned to go forward with FINEBEL under arrangements which accord with the objectives set forth in the OEEC decision of November 2, 1949. The precise terms and geographical scope of FINEBEL will, of course, be a matter for settlement by the countries concerned. It is understood that the usefulness of the arrangements will depend largely upon the promptness with which they can be put into effect. A question has been raised of possible ECA financial assistance, although it appears to be uncertain whether any dollar aid will in fact be needed. To the extent that dollar assistance may be shown necessary to facilitate the workings of agreed arrangements up to June 30, 1950, the ECA would consider sympathetically a request for such assistance.

It is understood that any such financial aid would be made available in accordance with approved US procedures.’

Please approach the responsible Minister or official of your Govt concerned with FINEBEL decisions, informing him of French inquiry and outlining for him ECA reply. Please leave with him copy of above oral statement emphasizing informal confidential character this document which should be communicated without delay in view possible FINEBEL meeting February 9. Please report your view FINEBEL prospects under present circumstances.”

We leave to your discretion whether you should informally advise British Govt of above or should await inquiry as to US attitude toward FINEBEL. This attitude was only stated after receipt of French inquiry. Petsche informs us he discussed FINEBEL with Cripps, who stated British Govt had no objections.

  1. In Repto 669 from Paris, February 4, not printed, Harriman said his office would continue to press the OEEC for an all-inclusive European Payments Union (840.00R/2–450).
  2. A hypothetical combination of France, Italy, and the Benelux countries in a regional economic union.
  3. Hervé Alphand, French Ambassador to the OEEC.
  4. See circular telegram Repto 382, November 10, 1949, in Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iv, p. 445.